In recent weeks, numerous websites have posted a video that shows an iPad-like tablet being displayed in 1994. This “amazingly prescient presentation on the tablet-y future of news consumption” — as Gawker called it — came from former Knight Ridder exec Roger Fidler, who is now predicting that iPad-like devices will be ubiquitous worldwide by 2021. He tells Romenesko:
Microsoft introduced tablet PCs in 2002, but they were not the devices I had been dreaming about. They were just pen-based portable computers. Sony introduced eReaders with paper-like displays in 2005 and Amazon made them popular in 2007 with the Kindle, but most of these devices had, and continue to have, small displays that are best suited for reading books. It took Steve Jobs and the team he assembled at Apple to finally make my original vision of a tablet – a lightweight, easy-to-use, nearly magazine-size, mobile display device that could function as a popular digital alternative to ink printed on paper – into a reality. By 2021, I would expect iPad-like devices to be ubiquitous worldwide.